Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Place of Relaxation

There are so many complains and frustration making the media circus out of Guyana, that you would think, what a total disaster.

Not so fast naysayer! I recently made friends with a very nice doctor from Skeldon Hospital, Dr. Vishalya Sharma, on Facebook. Being the nosy person I am, I clicked through her photos. To my utmost delight, I found some pictures which raised my curiosity to a very high level of excitement. Did you know that there was a park at #63 Beach? Okay, not the beach it self, but right before you get to the beach.

A park? Built by whom? For whom? Yes, there are good things happening in Guyana. I am told that "Uncle Joe" built this park by himself for the kids in the neighborhood. Apparently, this park was built at least before Dec, 2011. I consider myself very informed about the happenings in and around Skeldon all the way up the Corentyne and to some extent the other parts of Guyana. But a park built right under my nose and I had no idea?

Could it be that Uncle Joe saw the need and just did the right thing, without the hoopla of media and a big splash? I believe so. Not a single whisper on any social media. By chance I saw the pictures of the good doctor. Here is exactly what Guyana needs. I have always supported the notion that Guyana can be rebuilt and developed by the people living in Guyana.

Who knows better what is needed than people living in Guyana? Guyanese living day to day in Guyana! More people should follow suit and take up projects that benefits the community. I don't know Uncle Joe's background, but any person who can give of himself to the public without asking for anything in return is a person worth mentioning. This is how communities are built. This is a neighbor taking care of his neighbors' children. This is necessary in Guyana today.

Help from overseas in the "Hammock Raja" fashion is not the answer. There are tons of Guyanese willing to reach back into their village and render assistance. But it seems like a black hole to fill. People continue to give and nothing changes. The same hand outs happen year in, year out. Next year same thing, the other year same thing. Give a man a fish and he continues to ask, show that man how to fish and he eats everyday. Further, if that man learns to fish by himself, he eats all the time. Life is not easy anywhere. Times are changing in the diaspora. The money tree is getting dry and whittled.

Uncle Joe has shown that a little thought and generosity can go a long way. There was a Christmas party at this park last year. From the images, it is clear that these kids had a ball. This park serves as a sanctuary from everyday life. Like so many other parks in many other parts of the world, this is where people recharge their batteries and take things a little easier. More of this take charge of your own destiny is the key to Guyana's emergence out of this black hole.

I encourage more people to follow suit. Go to this park, take pictures, enjoy the peace, give back to your community. Share your thoughts and pictures. Thank you, Uncle Joe, for making a child's life fun again.

A Time To Remember

New Jersey Arya Samaj Mandir Humanitarian Mission, Guyana/Central Arya Samaj Mandir, Angels Entertainment Group, and Natraj Center for Performing Arts presents A Time to Remember. Proceeds will benefit the building of a Humanitarian Village in Babu John, Rose Hall, Berbice, Guyana. 

This ONE show only at Bath Settlement Community Center Ground will feature music and entertainment of Peace, Love, Unity, Strength, and Harmony.

Local and international artists will perform on the same stage. This is a Family Oriented Event.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The FATHER of Skeldon is gone.

Today, the father of Skeldon has passed on. I am sure there is, but I do not know many people in Skeldon who are 95 years young and still move about like Jamna Persaud Singh.

Showing the boys how it's done.

I remembered him as a high voice, loud, stalwart of a man. Walking into his work shop at the head of Kingston Rd, #79 Village, there was no doubt who was in charge. He made boys into men. There are stories that many of his apprentices would tell about accidents in their pants when he spoke to them. His complete knowledge of ANYTHING mechanical was impeccable.

Uncle Jamna and my grandfather, Uncle Phil, were buddy friends. During his time of many years as a hire car driver, my grandfather utilized the many functions of Uncle Jamna's workshop. I would take several pieces of work and Uncle Jamna, being the loving caring man he was would immediately pull me into his greasy arms with a hug. "Bai, a weh dah old man deh?" He would normally charge us a small fee or none at all. Of course in those days when the "Old bais" them get together was a whole 'nother story. During those times, Uncle Jamna was the owner of Ambassor Inn and Bar at Springlands. After hours of debate and gallons of liquor, the two old bais would come to our home. Pow, pow. He would let a few rounds off in the air, just to announce that they were home. Really, we could not hear the loud old cars and loud inebriated old mouths right in front of the house. But that was signature JPSingh.

Last year March I went back to Guyana after 20 yrs. I met Uncle Jamna at a funeral wake. He was playing dominoes. I slipped into the seat next to him and asked, "Do you remember me?" He looked at me and smiled. Slapped a domino on the table with the vigor of a 15 year old school boy. Then turned fully to face me. He took my shoulders in both of his bony hands and stared into my eyes. Under his bushy eyebrows his eyes softened, " You are old Khedaroo, grand son!" There was that old familiar hug, raspy old voice, and greasy smell. He remembered me.

This is the memory of Jamna Persaud Singh, that will forever itch into my brain, like it was a from his engraving machine. This is how he was to the entire community. Many times I saw this same embrace and hug, same raspy voice, same love for his community. While most of his children, grand, and great grand children are all overseas he choose to stay in Skeldon and work in his workshop until the day he passed. You, sir, distinguish gentleman of noble ancient being, straw hat off to you. I can hear the glasses click as you meet your old friend. Where ever you both are, Happy Father's Day to fathers of Skeldon pass.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Where is the pride in citizenship?

Diplomats launch community cleanup challenge | Latest:

'via Blog this'

I am appalled and dismayed that international diplomats living in Guyana have taken on this clean up initiative. Not that I am ungrateful for their efforts, more like I am embarrassed.

EU Ambassador Robert Kopecky and his expecting wife Eliska cleaning up Georgetown, Guyana.
Source Demerara Waves.
As humans and citizens of the world we are encouraged to keep our surroundings clean. Just like combing our hair, brushing our teeth, ironing our clothes, and stepping out in a presentable manner. Growing up in the rural parts of Berbice, it was a community effort to keep our surroundings clean. I clearly remembered in the late 70s and 80s when my entire street would participate in clean up activities. Some of these massive clean up were planned, like after heavy rains. We would all make sure our drains are cleaned and grass cut in front of our homes and our neighbor's homes if need be. There really was no line. If I was cutting the grass in front of my home, I would extend to both of my side neighbors. My neighbor might be trimming the trees that border both of our homes. It was a community activity that happened whenever it was needed. No one asked us, no one made a big media splash. It was our home and we kept it clean.

These images of foreigners cleaning  up the streets of Georgetown, Guyana troubles me. Where is the community spirit? Why are foreigners cleaning up our home? Rest assured that these people no matter how pristine their background is, being in the diplomatic core, are tired of looking at filthy streets. Since nothing is getting done, they take it upon themselves to initiate a clean up. I am all for community spirit and everyone no matter who they are pitching in to assist. But this is a little embarrassing, someone else cleaning our mess. This is like someone walking into your kitchen and taking a scrub brush to your sink. Or going into your toilet and scrubbing it before they can use it. What does that say about us as a nation?

We really don't care about the way our country is portrayed in the eyes of the international community? Why would a tourist choose Guyana over the other pristine Caribbean destinations? Who would want to do business in a filthy country? These are the images broadcasted to the world. The message is loud and clear. In order to dwell in Guyana you have to clean it up first.

Let's put aside the international spectacle for a second. What about internally? How can you live in this mess? Why are you waiting for someone else to clean up this mess? Obviously, the trash was put there by someone. That someone is you! You scatter and litter expecting someone to pick up after you? Do you think your mom or dad is going to clean your crap up? Wake up, people! It is your actions that is causing this dilemma . Don't blame the government. They put systems in place for you to execute. It is your responsibility to follow the littering law. The legal system is already overloaded, should they issue arrest for menial littering? Maybe, it is time to make examples of people who break the littering laws.

One of my first memories of Georgetown was as a little boy invited to perform at the National Cultural Center. Yes, I dabbled in poetry and acting in primary school. Coming from rural Skeldon, I was in total awe of the well kept lawns, drains, flowers, plants, and clean streets.  Guyana was once a clean, pristine, and beautiful country. What happened to all the people who took pride in keeping our country clean? Are we all scattered in the diaspora? Will we ever be able to reclaim our once pristine country? Or do we have to depend on foreigners to lead the way?